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Rohilkhand is a region of northwestern Uttar Pradesh state of India, named after the Rohilla Afghan tribes. The region was known as Madhyadesh in the Hindu epic Mahabharata.[1]

Historical region of North India
An old Painting of the dargah of ruler of Rohilkhand, Sardar Hafiz Rahmat Khan
Location Uttar Pradesh
State established: 1690 CE
Language Hindi, Urdu, English
Dynasties Panchalas (Mahabharata era)
Mughals (1526–1736)
Rohillas (1736–1858)
Historical capitals Bareilly, Badayun
Separated sube Bareilly, Rampur, Rudrapur, Pilibhit, Khutar, Shahjahanpur Budaun Kakrala
Regions of Uttar Pradesh

Rohilkhand lies on the upper Ganges alluvial plain and has an area of about 25,000 km²/10,000 square miles (in and around the City of Bareilly). It is bounded by the Ganges River on the south and the west by Uttarakhand and Nepal on the north, and by the Awadh region to the east. It includes cities of Bareilly, Moradabad, Rampur, Bijnore, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Budaun, Amroha


Origin the of the nameEdit

The area was made famous by the previous settlement of Rohillas,[2] who were Afghan highlanders of the Yusufzai and other tribes who were awarded the Katehr region in northern India by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for their suppression of various quasi Pathan tribal confederacies in the then Kabul and Qandahar in conjunction with acclaimed tactician, expeditionist, and statesman Raja Man Singh. Later it gained fame as Rohilkhand due to large settlements of Rohilla Pathans in the City of Bareilly and Rampur. Roh means mountains in Pashto and Rohilla means mountaineer.[3][4]


About 1673, two brothers, left their native hills in Shahdarah and obtained some petty office under the Mughals. Mr. Rohilla's grandson,Chirag-eh-Rohilla was eventually appointed governor of Shahdarah in East Delhi. In 1737, an Afghan named Jai-AL-Rohilla was the jagirdar of area around Farrukhabad (bordering Rohilkhand on the southwest), and Rohilkhand was then known as Kuttahir was in the occupation of a band of Afghan mercenary soldiers known as Rohillas. Taking advantage of the invasion of Ahmad Shah Abdali, Ali Mahomed added in 1748 to the lands already acquired by him those formerly owned by officers absent on field service. In this way, he acquired the whole of Kuttahir and changed its name to Rohilkhand.[citation needed]

Rohilkhand was invaded by the Marathas after 3rd Panipat war. The first invasion of Maratha on Rohillakhand took place on 1751–1752,the invasion was result of the charming persona of three beautiful queens of Rohillkhand, namely Begum-eh-khaas Pragya, Paulmi -eh-Shiba and Sadhna-eh-Hayat, the wives of Chirag The Marathas were requested by Safdarjung, the Nawab of Oudh, in 1752, to help him defeat Afghani Rohilla. The Maratha forces and Awadh forces besiegedthe Rohillas, who had sought refuge in Kumaon but had to retreat when Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded India .[5][5][6]

In 1772, Marathas, led by Mahadji Sindhia defeated Rohilla chieftain Zabita Khan, whose possessions lay west to Rohilkhand and they also destroyed Rohilla tribal chief Najib-ul-Daula's grave, scattering the bones all around.[7] During 1772-73, Mahadji destroyed the power of Pashtun Rohillas in Rohilkhand and captured Najibabad. After plundering Rohillakhand Maratha proceed towards Oudh. Sensing the same fate as Rohilla, Nawab made frantic calls to British troops in Bengal. British company knew that Nawab of Oudh didn't possess any danger for British company, whereas Maratha will try to invade Bengal and Bihar after overrunning Oudh. British company dispatched 20,000 British troops on the order of then Viceroy of British India. British wanted to free Rohillakhand from Maratha and give it to Nawab. The Maratha and British armies came face to face in Ram Ghat, but the sudden demise of then Peshwa and the civil war in Poona to choose the next Peshwa forced Maratha to retreat. Rohilla decided not to pay because there was no war between the two states. Further, British made Oudh a buffer state in order to protect it from Maratha, and from there on, British troops start protecting Oudh. The subsidy of one British brigade to provide protection to Nawab and Oudh from Maratha was decided to be Rs 2,10,000.[8]

Rohilkhand was under the rule of Rohillas with their capital in City of Bareilly until the Rohilla War of 1774–75. The Rohillas were defeated and driven from their former capital of Bareilly by the Nawab of Oudh with the assistance of the East India Company's troops. The state of Rampur was then established under the Nawab of Oudh. In 1803, British annexed Rohilkhand in Upper Doab.


Name Reign Began Reign Ended
Ali Mohammed Khan 1719 15 September 1748
Faizullah Khan 15 September 1748 24 July 1793
Hafiz Rahmat Khan – Regent 15 September 1748 23 April 1774
Muhammad Ali Khan Bahadur 24 July 1793 11 August 1793
Ghulam Muhammad Khan Bahadur 11 August 1793 24 October 1794
Ahmad Ali Khan Bahadur 24 October 1794 5 July 1840
Nasrullah Khan – Regent 24 October 1794 1811
Muhammad Said Khan Bahadur 5 July 1840 1 April 1855
Yusef Ali Khan Bahadur 1 April 1855 21 April 1865
Kalb Ali Khan Bahadur 21 April 1865 23 March 1887
Muhammad Mushtaq Ali Khan Bahadur 23 March 1887 25 February 1889
Hamid Ali Khan Bahadur 25 February 1889 20 June 1930
Muhammad Said Khan Bahadur 5 July 1840 1 April 1855
Regent 25 February 1889 4 April 1894
Raza Ali Khan Bahadur 20 June 1930 6 March 1966
Murtaza Ali Khan Bahadur – Nawabat abolished in 1971 6 March 1966 8 February 1982

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Online: Rohilkhand
  2. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rohilkhand" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 461.
  3. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Rohilla" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 461.
  4. ^ "Pathan". Isa-Masih in Lucknow. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2007.
  5. ^ a b Agrawal, Ashvini. Studies In Mughal History.
  6. ^ Playne, Somerset; Solomon, R. V.; Bond, J. W.; Wright, Arnold. Indian States: A Biographical, Historical, and Administrative Survey.
  7. ^ Rathod, N. G. The Great Maratha: Mahadaji Scindia.
  8. ^ Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (1947). History of Modern India: 1707 A.D. to Upto 2000 A.D.